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'SHUT THE F**K UP!' The moment Linus Torvalds ruined a dev's year

Top tip: Don't break users' apps

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A Linux kernel developer found himself in a perfect storm of Linus Torvalds' sharp tongue and his intolerance for bad code.

Red Hat's Mauro Carvalho Chehab was told by Linux kernel chief Torvalds to "shut the f**k up" and fix his "approach to kernel programming" after Chehab passed off a bug in the kernel as something at fault in Pulseaudio and other third-party applications.

Torvalds called the handling of the flaw "shameful". The bug caused an ioctl() system call to return an inappropriate error code for the operation requested; software using this function would come unstuck as a result of this unexpected value from the kernel.

"Mauro, SHUT THE F**K UP!" the outraged Finn opened in an email to the kernel development mailing list, although edited here for decency.

"It's a bug all right - in the kernel. How long have you been a maintainer? And you still haven't learnt the first rule of kernel maintenance? … Fix your approach to kernel programming."

Torvalds was primarily furious that the core of the Linux operating system that he founded was, thanks to a dodgy blob of code, confusing the Pulseaudio application by dishing out the wrong information.

He added: "We particularly don't break user space with TOTAL CRAP."

Torvalds, who says he is now so busy overseeing the open-source Linux project he can't find the time to write new code, vowed to personally apply the fix for the bug. Chehab is otherwise tasked with maintaining the operating system's underlying media-playing code.

Last year Torvalds insisted he was a mild-mannered man of peace who is mischaracterised as angry because only his outbursts are reported.

But the dad-of-three admitted it's not in his nature to be overly nurturing and gentle when dealing with Linux development matters and noted he tends to get involved in issues at the gasket-blowing stage.

"I get involved later on and say: 'Christ this is horribly ugly code, how could you ever accept this?' That's the involvement I mostly have, and it can be negative and somewhat good at times," the first-man of Linux said in November. ®

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